Traffic dominates RTC meeting

Rye Town Hall's Council Chamber could attract a crowd on Monday

It seems inevitable that at every meeting of Rye Town Council (RTC) problems relating to traffic in the town, whether stationary or moving, will be raised. Last Monday, October 31 was no exception.

With the Chamber crowded to the point of standing room only, the residents of New Road, Kings Avenue and South Undercliff had come to hear their representatives address the council.

New Road: traffic calming needed
New Road: traffic calming needed

We have reported before on the concerns about traffic speed in New Road and recently a meeting of New Road and Kings Avenue residents was held at the Rugby Club (itself in New Road). Under the chairmanship of Paul Osborne, who is also Chairman of Rother District Council (RDC), general concern had been expressed that unless some form of traffic calming measures were instituted, it would be only a question of time before a serious accident and possibly a death would occur. A residents’ committee has been formed, a number of possible solutions, from simply advancing the 30mph signs further down the road to more aggressive calming methods have been discussed, and, with the support of Paul Osborne and also Keith Glazier (leader, East Sussex County Council – ESCC), a meeting with Highways England has been arranged.

Following representations from the committee spokesman, Mark Estcourt, the council voted to give its support.

.....or this
An lorry narrowly misses the side of a house in South Undercliff

The Council then heard from several South Undercliff residents, occasionally at some length. A meeting had previously been held with Rye MP, Amber Rudd and she had advised them to organise a petition listing their concerns. These include both quantity and noise of traffic as well as the proximity of passing vehicles to some of the houses and pollution, addressing both RTC and RDC. This has now received 104 signatures from both South Undercliff and Fishmarket Road and support was sought – and received –  from RTC with a view that this should go forward to Highways England. Both RDC Councillor Lord Ampthill and ESCC Councillor Keith Glazier, who were in attendance, were also supportive.

It should be noted that Rye is not on the Highways England list of areas where any road improvements are envisaged or deemed necessary but it is just possible that, with the right support as evidenced at this meeting, together with that of Amber Rudd MP, groups of active and articulate private individuals may be able to influence a change of attitude

Later in the evening. at a meeting of the Planning Committee, the question of cameras in Lion Street was briefly referred to. Councillor Boyd continues to investigate this. At the same meeting Anthony Kimber, Chairman of the Rye Neighbourhood Plan committee confirmed that version 8 of the Plan was almost completed on the website and that all transport issues raised by both the public and the council had been addressed. He was unable to give a firm date for completion, but the indications were that it should not be too long before this magnum opus (and it is undoubtedly that) would be ready for full inspection by the public.

Kenneth Bird and John Minter

Image Credits: Kenneth Bird .


  1. Since moving from Brighton just over a year ago, partly to get away from the bustle and heavy traffic of the city, we have come to appreciate the many delights of Rye. We find it therefore puzzling and sad that the venerable town suffers so much from a dangerous indifference to the effects of passing traffic that often ignores speed regulations. In addition to the problems of New Road and South Undercliff, we find it often difficult to negotiate the junction of Military Road and Rye Hill – traffic coming from three directions. Surely the introduction of zebra crossings and/or lights is justified if a fatal accident is to be avoided.

  2. The Rye Neighbourhood Plan Version 8 remains on the website for “full inspection by the Public” now. It addresses all the issues raised by the Rye Public including traffic on the approach roads The next key stage is for the Plan to be formally adopted by Rye Town Council. Once done the process for final consultations and independent inspection will begin.


  3. Many people who have lived in this town more than ten minutes will remember over 20 years ago, just like Sainsburys which we nearly had, various routes were put forward for a bypass for our town, thanks to the NIMBYS, most who have passed on, Highways dropped the plan in the end, and now in the 21st century, many people are suffering, from noise and pollution, high time we lobbied Amanda Rudd, to get a bypass, back on the drawing board.

  4. Throughout Spain, France and Portugal, most urban areas and towns/villages in rural areas operate a 30 km (20 miles) per hour speed limit, together with traffic calming, e.g. Crossing lights, speed bumps etc. The same restrictions have been applied in areas like Durham and York (areas which attract many visitors because of their antiquity) and in many London boroughs a strict speed limit of 20 mph is widespread and adhered to. In my view, Rye is accidents waiting to happen with its narrow streets and pavements and an increasing volume of heavy traffic. I suggest that the whole town should be restricted to a 20 mph speed limit. It’s true that many drivers ignore speed limits but if one in five drivers were to adhere to 20mph, this would slow traffic down and eventually drivers would get the message that in a built-up area, driving more cautiously is driving responsibly.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here